Connect with us

Featured

Data centres on wheels?

Driverless vehicles are on the road now. It’s a big news story. Getting the cars to behave with their human-driven peers has taken a tremendous amount of work. Getting them to avoid collisions is still a work in progress.

Published

on

When you dig into what’s making automobile automation possible, you will find that a lot of computing horsepower is being packed into the design and it’s embedded into the vehicle itself. So why did the designers put the system into the car instead of in the cloud? Latency is critical, so the compute power must be tightly integrated into the control loop for the car. Like its pavement counterpart, you want to avoid a traffic jam on the information highway too. The last thing you’d want is for a round trip time to a cloud data center to prevent your self-driving car from safely delivering you to your destination.  

This design model presents new challenges to us in the industry. There will be no single standard for edge IoT compute form factors. There will be common design points that most industry verticals will care about to some degree. Composing technology in a way that is adaptable to these various requirements will be a challenge that will separate the creative innovators from the fast followers. To help stimulate the innovators out there, let’s pick apart the edge IoT (Internet of Things) data center of the future with three basic design questions:

1. What workloads are we going to be running?
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are all the rage of late. These techniques aren’t new. What’s all the fuss about? In a word, it’s about data. We’re drowning in it. We’d prefer to be swimming. For many applications, we’ll need to have dynamic tuning of our sensor data as conditions change. This will require the embedded artificial intelligence driving the cars to go through training, re-training, and lots of it. This is the obvious answer. Beyond that, we’re going to need the infrastructure applications to connect our systems to users, the cloud, their peers, and potentially, the environment around them.

System designers need to grow in their thinking to incorporate these elements into their foundational designs for edge systems. Finally, they shouldn’t overlook the old-fashioned applications run in other places today. Putting data center-class computing power where it didn’t exist before will create incentive for software developers to build applications for it.

2. What are the primary constraints in the environment?
The answers here will vary, but nothing at the edge will behave like a data center does. Lack of strict environmental control and limited ventilation may be common. How many Gs do you experience when you hit a pothole at 60 kmph? Will we need airbags for our mobile IT? What is your high-availability requirement and model for redundancy? The idea of putting hyperconverged infrastructure into an edge appliance might raise questions, but it does make for a robust platform with a good deal of general compute capability.

3. How will we manage the lifecycle?
Data center IT is built based upon some principal assumptions of the lifetime of a generation of technology. These assumptions are wrong in many IoT environments.

As an example, you bought a Google TV in 2009. It’s a generation behind in display technology (HD instead of 4K), but it adequately delivers what you need for viewing most content nine years into its service. It will probably be in use for several more years. The brand stopped issuing updates for the embedded system years ago. The hardware simply no longer keeps up with new application development. Even if you wanted to, there is no way to upgrade the memory and CPU without replacing the entire television and its very expensive display. That makes it a technical orphan. It’s unfortunate. The idea was great. The execution failed to comprehend the difference in lifespan of the composed technology. We need to figure this out.

Beyond the hardware considerations, we also will need to design in a new model for management, maintenance and refreshing of our distributed data center technologies.

This is a new frontier in technology. The world is transforming because of it. We are setting the table. As we do so, we need to think beyond the technology packaging and delivery we do for traditional and cloud data centers today. Great innovations come from internalising the problems of the customer and applying technology in creative ways to solve them.

Are we thinking far enough from our comfort zone to make the leap to the future? Lenovo is driving edge computing to the center of our thinking about IoT and will be ready to meet you wherever your edge happens to be.

Continue Reading

Featured

CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

Published

on

It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

Previous Page1 of 3

Continue Reading

Featured

CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

Published

on

Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

AI_star_from_China_AIcorrect-b83fb388c6b7a636ec02f5a66bb403cd.jpg

The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

Previous Page1 of 6

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 World Wide Worx